Sunday, December 2, 2007

Daryle Lambert - Time to Fly South - Pisgah Forest Pottery

This cold snap up north here is a bit much for me, so today I will introduce you to a Southern Pottery. Maybe by putting my mind in the south, my body will warm up a bit. Pisgah Pottery is a name that I would guess that most aren't very well acquainted with. Pisgah was one of the many pottery factories in North Carolina in the early part of the 1900's.

I have to admit, this wasn't one of my favorites to spend my time on, but after I saw what some of their pieces are bringing in at auction, I took a second look. They specialize in three types of wares, and I think that it is wise to be able to identify each one of them.

Their Cameo line was first, and this pottery used the built up decorations to create scenes on their pieces. This was basically a European technique that was brought over from the old country. You might think of pieces from the Seres factories in this category. They are usually very expensive. The pieces that most fascinate me are the crystalline pieces that seem to have large snowflakes on them, but truly these designs are created in the firing process. My least favorite of the Pisgah goods were their commercial lines, even if they were hand-thrown by master potteries.

The mark is very distinctive: A man sitting at the potting wheel with the name Pisgah Forest below. All of his pottery should be marked. Walter R. Stephens started the company in 1914 and he died in 1961, however the factory continues today, run by his step-grandson. Most of the early work is what we should be looking for and the best way to recognize it is by studying pieces at Antique Shows or finding them in books and on the Internet. You can do an Internet search for auctions to find examples of these wonderful pieces and research information about Pisgah while you're at it. The crystalline vases attract me, because the first one I ever bought was at a garage sale for twenty five cents. If my memory serves me right, it brought about $500 when I sold it. This will make you have a greater appreciation for Pisgah Pottery.

I will give you some examples from a guide book. Lamp with a Indian scene, 1942, $ 3500. Blue double dipped Cobalt vase,1933, seven inches tall $4500. Dancing couple cameo vase, 1950, eight and one half inches tall $1500.

I think you would agree that these are worth keeping a eye out for. The prices you might find these pieces being offered for might just surprise you. Who says that nothing that comes from the South has any value?

Let's not forget others during this season when we are so blessed. God may not have given us all the money in the world, but if you think like me and look around you, we just might have to agree that we have received our share of blessings. I will be introducing you to a great cause later next week, and Andrew will be our wonderful guide in helping others. -- Daryle

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  1. I resent your dissing the South and all things Southern. Thanks for the infinitessimal additions to my knowledge of Pisgah pottery. Southern Girl

  2. You need to seriously adjust your attitude about the South. We have a tremendous pottery tradition here. The old southern pieces are mopping up at auctions, setting records. Ever heard of Edgefield pottery or Catawba Valley? Do us a favor and keep your carpetbag and your body up in the north.